President Muhammadu Buhari says that significant transformation effort is on-going in the oil and gas sector to lift Nigerians out of poverty.
He said that the COVID-19 negative impact on the oil and gas sector globally has made the government focus more on the development of the non oil sector as a way of diversifying the nation’s economy.
The president was addressing delegates during the opening ceremony, of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria’s 6th Triennial Delegates’ Conference in Abuja.
According to him, Nigeria has earned its pride of place in the comity of oil and gas producing nations, standing at 10th and 9th positions in global oil and gas reserves.
President Buhari who was represented by the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipriye Sylva, said that the Nigerian oil and gas industry has remained the main driver for economic and infrastructural development of the country.
“It is the major contributor of foreign exchange earnings to the Nigerian government accounting for around 10 percent of the nations GDP as well as providing employment to a significant number of skilled, semi-skilled, and unskilled labour.
“All these would not have been possible without the diligent contributions of PENGASSAN,” he said.
Recognising the significance of the oil and gas industry as an enabler of national growth, and development of the country the President said that his administration has carved out some strategies for the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to stimulate the sector in order to foster the sustainability of the Nigerian economy in terms of creating well paid jobs, and taking millions of Nigerians out of poverty.
“We are counting on your association to continue to provide the much-needed support to meet our developmental mandate.
“Our collaboration will focus on gas to transmute Nigeria from the conventional dependence on white products for prime movers to a cleaner, more available, accessible, acceptable and affordable energy used in gas.
“This will cushion the effect of deregulation and create enormous job opportunities for Nigerians.
“This is while revamping the existing refineries, green field and development of modular refineries are sprung up, these activities will continue to engage PENGASSAN and NUPENG,” he said.
President Buhari, also commended the courage and expertise of members of the association for what he described as their tireless, fearless, and significant contribution to the development of the Nigerian oil and gas industry and the economy in general.
Also speaking, Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige in a message, noted that the Oil and Gas sector in Nigeria occupied a central position in the political and social-economic development of the country.
He tasked the association to create innovative ways to address identified challenges in the sector.
In his address of welcome, the Out-going President of the Association, Comrade Ndukaku Ohaeri, called on the National Assembly to resolve the challenges that have characterised the non-passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill PIB.
“We appeal to the government, especially the Technical Committee putting finishing touches to the new PIB, to ensure greater stakeholders’ engagement to improve on the final outcome of the bill sent to the National Assembly for consideration and passage”, he said.
President, Nigeria Labour Congress NLC Ayuba Wabba in a good will message, stressed the need for social justice and social security for workers in the industry, describing the oil and gas sector as very strategic in the economic development of the nation.
389 delegates participated at this year’s Conference.
Source: Voice of Nigeria